JUPITER, Fla. -- Seeking to reduce the length of games and improve the viewer experience, Major League Baseball announced a series of changes on Friday designed to address pace-of-game concerns.
Those changes include modifications to the instant-replay process, which will no longer involve managers coming out of the dugout while their replay teams review tape. Moving forward, managers will initiate challenges from the dugout and will retain their challenge each time a call is overturned.
"Everybody involved hated how that was going down -- walking out there, waiting on instant replay to load up, getting the call from the bench," Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter said. "It was a long process. Then you stand out there taking a long time and all of a sudden they don't even challenge that. I think that will help."
Batters and pitchers will also have to slightly adjust their routines. Hitters will be required to keep at least one foot in the batter's box unless certain exceptions occur. In most instances, taking a pitch -- ball or strike -- will require the batter to stay partially in the box.
The intent is to cut down on the delays created by players going through a routines after every pitch.
"We have some very regimented players," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Part of it is their training to where they know in their mind, they have a mechanism for getting past the last pitch. It's going to be an adjustment. It will take a little bit of time, but I don't think this is something that is going to rewrite what they need to do."
Players will have Spring Training and the first month of the season to get used to the new rules. After that, those in violation will be fined.
MLB is also adding timers at each ballpark to measure the lulls between innings and during pitching changes. Pitchers will be required to throw their final warmup pitch 30 seconds before the end of a commercial break, and a batter's walk-up music must end no more than five seconds later. Hitters will be encouraged to step into the batter's box with 20 seconds remaining on the timer.
Timers will be placed near the outfield scoreboard and behind home plate near the press box. The timers will not be used to dictate a maximum time between pitches, as will be experimented in Double-A and Triple-A this year.
"Based on what I read, it's smart, and it's not going to be overly complicated for players to adjust," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I hope it's helpful. And I do think it's definitely taking a step in the right direction."